Jammu and Kashmir offers the potential to woo domestic and international travelers by organizing national, international sports tourism events like golf tournaments, rafting, snow skiing, rock climbing and motor racing.
Travelers combine their love for travelling and sports by planning their holidays around popular sports events thus boosting sports tourism in the UT.
Notably, the J&K Sports Policy encourages promotion of UTs natural splendid resources such as lakes, rivers, springs, canals and mountains to boost sports tourism. The policy accords special focus on golf, winter sports, adventure and water sports activities besides creation of hubs and sports tourist centers which would in turn provide additional job opportunities.
As per the policy document, the ‘Public Private Partnership’ (PPP) along with foreign mission support for knowledge and technology transfer will help take sports and adventure tourism to the higher level. Accordingly, sports tourism and specialized snow adventure sports training courses at certificate/ diploma level will become the new modus for making such sports tourism models to become self sustaining. The department of Youth Services & Sports encourage PPP mode to promote winter sports and adventure tourism.
The existing skiing facilities for training as well as leisure games at Gulmarg are being developed at par with international standards. Apart from this, specific focus for skiing infrastructure development is a thrust initiative at Pahalgam and Sonamarg as these are also a high snowfall receiving regions. Regions like Gurez and other smaller villages with several scenic spots can be developed as nature walk, trails, rock climbing with single focused sport activity. This will enable creation of experience destinations and boost the economy alongside providing employment opportunities. Besides, up-gradation of training facility and curriculum in mountaineering related courses is being done using upgraded techniques, infrastructure and methodology.
JK Sports Council in collaboration with tourism department encourages international golf competitions so that golf tourism is given a spurt. Other districts in the UT are being explored for developing golf as a sport. The Directorate of YSS in collaboration with the Golf Development Authority and tourism department is working to involve school children as well.
The aim of Jammu & Kashmir Sports Policy 2022 is ‘to create a dynamic, inclusive, competitive and innovative environment that enables and empowers the citizens of Jammu & Kashmir to experience and benefit from a strong sports culture. Besides, it will facilitate creation of a self-sustaining and participative sports ecosystem that makes sports affordable, enjoyable and sustainable for all who wish to play and for those who wish to excel on global level.’
‘It has been seen that Sports tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in tourism. More and more tourists are interested in sport activities during their trips whether sports are the main objective of travel or not’, a travel consultant said.
Various reports suggested that Indians are now travelling more both within and outside the country to attend their choice of sports event, thus having accelerated the sports tourism industry.
Many people use these trips as an excuse for a longer holiday, combining their sporting passions with a general love for travel, a tourism department official said. “On the other side, many in the tourism industry have also begun to realize the value of wooing these tourists, many of them fall into the high spending category, stay longer than other tourist categories, are high caliber tourists, he added”
In a significant achievement, Jammu and Kashmir is scheduled to host international level sports championships in Srinagar and Jammu soon. This will be for the first time that J&K is hosting two international sports events of which the junior Asian Pencak Silat championship will be held in Srinagar from September 1 to September 4, 2022 and international chess festival will be held at Jammu from 20th August to 28th August.